Farm-state lawmakers said Thursday after a White House meeting with Trump that he had given that assignment to his trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, and his new chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpCarter urges Trump to keep country at peace: Any nuclear exchange could involve "catastrophe" Pompeo confirms "a couple hundred" Russians killed in Syria Federal appeals court weighs CFPB leadership fight MORE on Thursday instructed top administration officials to explore re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - a trade pact he pulled the USA out of a year ago while calling it a "disaster".
"The best thing the United States can do to push back against Chinese cheating now is to lead the other eleven Pacific nations that believe in free trade and the rule of law", Sasse said in a statement after the meeting.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the president's apparent reversal on TPP came a little over a year after he withdrew.
Sasse spoke to reporters at the White House on Thursday after leaving a meeting on trade Trump held with governors and lawmakers from farm states.
Trump has mused about re-joining TPP negotiations in the past but his request to his top aides shows a greater level of interest in rejoining the pact he railed against during his 2016 campaign. He said China's theft of intellectual property has inflicted serious damage to USA companies and threatens the country's future economic outlook.
But it's just that kind of trade deal with Pacific countries that would better confront China and its unfair trade practices, Sen.
The problem is that TPP is going to open up markets and supply chains for numerous participants.
Sasse said Trump looked directly at Kudlow during the meeting and told him to "get it done". Only two months ago he said the TPP was "bad" for the USA, reiterating his support for bilateral deals instead of multilateral deals.
The TPP was a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States, negotiated in the mid-2000s and signed in February 2016. Sen Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was among a handful of senators who recently visited China to meet with government and business leaders there. The president seemed to slow the timeline for any US strikes on the country after signaling earlier this week that an attack was imminent. "To that end, he has asked [Ambassador] Lighthizer and Director Kudlow to take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated". "And they'll be made fairly soon". "We'll see what happens, folks", he said, using one of his preferred phrases while a decision is pending.